The Fix

Elvis Costello needles Bush, Mel Gibson contemplates another "Lethal Weapon," and Frank McCourt remembers life as a teacher. Plus: Britney's musical suicide note?

By Salon Staff
Published March 12, 2004 2:58PM (EST)

Afternoon Briefing:

Elvis was in the house: Last night at his concert in San Francisco, Elvis Costello got in a few Bush barbs. Joking that he had seen Vice President Dick Cheney at an all-you-can-eat buffet, he said, "Let's hope he doesn't die of a heart attack. Then who would be president? His Texan hand puppet."

Britney pulls a Plath: Word is that Ms. Spears' next video, "Everytime," shot by David LaChappelle, will have a story line that includes a suicide. But instead of putting her head in an oven, Britney takes too many pills, while a "new Britney" rises to sing again. (This is London)

I'm not a CIA agent, but I play one on TV: Actress Jennifer Garner of "Alias" fame now appears on a recruiting ad on the CIA Web site, with the explanation that Garner's character in the show "embodies the integrity, patriotism and intelligence the CIA looks for in its officers." Do they have to be cute, too? (BBC)

"Alias" meets "The Office": Speaking of television, Ricky Gervais (remember, the guy who added wit to the Golden Globes this year) will make a guest appearance on "Alias" this Sunday. How did he deal with the switch? Said the actor, "I just pretended to be Jack Bauer from '24.'" (TV Guide)

Isn't bootlegging a sin? A pirated version of Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ" was shown to a church youth group in Indiana. The pastor of the church said it was a "mistake" and the film was stopped after about half had been shown. Then the tape was destroyed. (IndyStar)

Mel's next passion: While "The Passion of the Christ" behaves like a money machine, Gibson is in talks with director Richard Donner to do "Lethal Weapon 5." It's been six years since the fourth installment. (IMDB)

Want a dance mix with that mocha? Starbucks and Hewlett-Packard are teaming up to allow the coffee giant's customers to pick songs for customized CDs to be burned while they sip their latte. The first store to offer the service will open in Santa Monica, Calif., March 16, with an in-store performance by Rufus Wainwright and Sarah Harmer. (Rolling Stone)

Write what you know: Frank McCourt, whose memoir of growing up in Ireland sold millions of copies, was going to write a novel based on his experiences as a teacher but he says he "tried it and it didn't work." Instead, he will make the story nonfiction about his 30-year career as a teacher in New York. Says McCourt, "While teaching I was discovering myself. If you can have even a bit of that experience you're lucky in this life. It's better than therapy." (Reuters)

-- Karen Croft

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Morning Briefing:

Her nipple shield is not invited: Janet Jackson is scheduled to perform in concert on TV for the first time since her Super Bowl extravaganza. Later this month, she's set to take a musical turn on ABC's "Good Morning America," an appearance apparently scheduled prior to the halftime boobhaha. To prevent any "wardrobe malfunctions," ABC will institute a five-second audio and video delay for the run of her performance -- at an estimated cost of around $30,000. (N.Y. Times)

"Wardrobe malfunction," welcomed: A group called the Global Language Monitor, which analyzes word trends, has selected "wardrobe malfunction" as Hollywood's Top Word or Phrase for Impact on the English language. The phrase is "destined to outlive the football game with which it is associated," said the group's president. (Associated Press)

The new Martha: Martha's daughter? Cindy Adams reports: "Next week will come an official announcement that the throne of Martha the Great will be taken over by her daughter, HRH Princess Alexis." (Cindy Adams)

Was fear made him put up his finger: Martha Stewart's former broker and fellow convictee, Peter Bacanovic, has told friends that he regrets giving journalists the finger after the jury reached its guilty verdict last week. One buddy commented that Bacanovic is "scared [beepless]" and is thinking of getting into the entertainment business or becoming a photographer himself when this whole mess is behind him. (Rush and Molloy)

Lohan behold: How these rumors get started Lindsay Lohan's people may never know, but they insist that the the 17-year-old actress never flirted with intensely browed actor Colin Farrell, nor did she give him her digits. In fact, her handlers say, she's never even met the guy. Veteran gossipist Liz Smith, who reported both the rumor and -- subsequently -- its debunking, is apparently rather disappointed. (Liz Smith)

Petrovying: Andrei Petrov, the artist whose paintings the "Apprentice" teams were vying to sell, is doing a brisk business in the wake of his TV fame. The morning after the Trump show put his work on display to the reality-TV watching world, Petrov's gallery in D.C. sold 18 canvases -- and the artist says he's sold 100 more on the Web. Plus, he's got a show coming up in Chicago -- organized by "Apprentice" contestant Bill -- and interest from Ogilvy & Mather for an "Absolut by Petrov" ad. He's fired ... up. (Page Six)

N-word, denied: Ex-"Apprentice" contender Ereka Vetrini and producer Mark Burnett vehemently deny that anyone on the show called Omarosa Manigault-Stallworth the "N-word," as she recently alleged. Vetrini says she's "absolutely sick to my stomach" about the allegations. Manigault-Stallworth sniffed that Vetrini has an "obsession" with her and, told of Burnett's insistence that the word was not used by anyone during the filming of the show, said, "How can you fight against denials?" (N.Y. Post)

The Brown Bunnyman strikes again: Vince Gallo is lashing out at the stars who arrived at the Oscars in environment-friendly Toyota Prius hybrid vehicles: "Not one of these clowns has been on a private plane less than 25 times." (The Washington Times via Page Six)

Money Quotes:

Howard Stern's Infinity bosses on charges of Stern indecency: "We're going to defend him." (FMQB via Drudge)

Bubba the Love Sponge on his own recent dismissal, by Clear Channel, for indecency: "They were a victim of this situation. They were strong-armed by the government to get rid of me and they did ... G.W. Bush got me fired." (FMQB)

-- Amy Reiter

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